Kootenai River Sediment Studies

Science Center Objects

The Kootenai River white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) and other native fish species are culturally important to the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, but their habitat and recruitment have been affected by anthropogenic changes to the river. White sturgeon and burbot have not successfully spawned in the Kootenai River since the completion of Libby Dam upstream in Montana. In recent years, most white sturgeon have attempted to spawn in river reaches downstream of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, that have sandy substrates. Sturgeon eggs adhere to the sand and suffocate as more sand is deposited. 

In an effort to recover endangered and threatened aquatic species, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho has undertaken a large-scale restoration project in the Kootenai River. In cooperation with the Tribe, we have been monitoring sediment in restoration project areas. These efforts have included sampling for suspended and bedload sediment, modeling of sediment transport, underwater video surveying, sediment facies mapping, and the use of acoustics as a surrogate for traditional sampling.